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      US Supplies Fatah With Arms, Rice Decries "Occupation"

      The Fatah faction received a new shipment of arms Thursday as part of a Western aid package to bolster forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas. Secretarty Rice promises a PLO state.
      By Ezra HaLevi & Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 10/13/2006, 11:42 AM / Last Update: 10/12/2006, 8:11 PM

      United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday America could have no greater legacy than to have divided the Land of Israel and established a Palestinian state to end the "humiliation of occupation." Rice made the statements at a dinner marking the third anniversary of the American Task Force on Palestine.

      "The Palestinian people deserve a better life, a life that is rooted in liberty, democracy, uncompromised by violence and terrorism, unburdened by corruption and misrule and forever free of the daily humiliation of occupation," Rice said. "I promise you my personal commitment to that goal."

      "I believe there could be no greater legacy for America than to help bring into being a Palestinian state for people who have suffered too long, have been humiliated too long," Rice added.

      "I know that sometimes, a Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel must seem like a very distant dream but I know too... that there are so many things that once seemed impossible that after they happened they simply seemed inevitable," she said.

      Rice praised Mahmoud Abbas, who is hanging onto his position as Palestinian Authority chairman, for his moderation. Arutz-7 reported Tuesday that Abbas dismissed demands that Fatah recognize Israel - just one day before he told Rice that such recognition is a must.

      Made-in-U.S. Arms Arrive in PA
      Thousands of M-16 assault rifles, made in the U.S., were delivered to Fatah forces in Judea and Samaria as part of the effort to strengthen Abbas in his opposition to Hamas leader and PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

      Fatah is the political party headed by the late terrorist chieftain Yasser Arafat. The Al-Aksa Brigades terror group operates under its authority.

      According to PA security sources quoted by the Middle East Newsline (MENL), "The weapons are meant for PA forces but they end up with Fatah in the war against Hamas." The deal, meant to increase Abu Mazen's power in the struggle for control of the PA government, was approved by Israel.

      The two factions have been fighting bitter clashes in Gaza, leading to speculation that a civil war may ultimately hit the streets. The Hamas terror organization is currently the majority faction in the PA after winning January 2006 elections in a landslide victory against Fatah.

      The victory at the polls, however, led to a loss at the bank; international funding dried up as a result of the new regime. Hamas has continued to resist international pressure to force the terror organization to officially acknowledge Israel's right to exist, renounce violence and uphold peace agreements signed by the previous Fatah-led PA government.

      The latest efforts by Qatari officials to build a unity government of Hamas and Fatah failed after Hamas once again insisted on maintaining its refusal to officially recognize the Jewish State. In the wake of that failure, Abbas again threatened to disband the current PA government and call for early elections.